Augie Great Municipal Band & The Kodály Classroom

The Kodály methodology and philosophy is that children first learn folk songs in their mother tongue, then folk songs of other cultures and then music of the masters (art music).  I think though, it is also important to find ways to teach rhythm and solfége to children in music that is more contemporary.  I was told by Jill Trinka one time that it is equally important, as educators, to know what children are listening to, reading and watching.  This example, "Augie's Great Municipal Band" from Star Wars Episode I," is a little "out-dated/old" in that the movie came out in 1999, but children are still familiar with it, known movie and can recognize the main musical themes.

I use this specific example as a low-sol reading exercise.  The rhythms are very simple and it contains solfa patterns that are easy to sight read.  We start by reading these slides via powerpoint:

After using these slides as a reading exercise we then read them all together.  (Keep in mind that before this activity we'll have used these patterns in games such as "poison" (unspoken pattern), "Who has/I Have" and others):

After reading the excercise slides we then put it with the music.  The original is very quick so the first time or two we use a version that I slowed down by putting it in Audacity.  During the first listen, the student count how many times the pattern occurs.  The next time we listen to it they try to sing the solfa as the pattern occurs.  The third time through, we try to add hand signs (remember, this is a part of a lesson over the sequence of a few lesson.)

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